June 26, 2013

N.H. power line to take new route following criticism

The Associated Press

CONCORD, N.H. – Northern Pass is announcing a new route for its proposed 180-mile, high-voltage power line originating in northern New Hampshire.

The privately funded $1.2 billion Northern Pass project plans to build a line that would transmit 1,200 megawatts of Canadian hydroelectric power into New England, but it has run into strong opposition. Critics argue the power line's towers along the route – especially in the North Country – would rise above the trees and would damage New Hampshire's environment, lower property values and make the state less attractive to tourists.

The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests bought conservation easements in an attempt to block Northern Pass from securing a route.

The project will announce a new route on Thursday.

Former Sen. Judd Gregg, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Gov. Maggie Hassan recently added their opposition to any route traversing the Connecticut Lakes headwaters that Shaheen and Gregg worked to protect.

The Legislature debated a series of bills this year aimed at slowing down or stopping construction. None that would stop the project survived. New Hampshire businessmen objected that passing laws aimed at hindering Northern Pass could affect unrelated projects.

Supporters argue the Canadian power would reduce the need for electricity from fossil fuel sources that produce carbon emissions and would provide property tax revenue.


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